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King County looks for feedback on plans to expand 911 alternatives, ‘reimagine public safety’

Nov 23, 2021, 4:24 PM | Updated: Nov 24, 2021, 6:15 am
King County public safety...
Seattle's Health One initiative operates as one of a handful of 911 alternatives. (City of Seattle)
(City of Seattle)

King County put out a survey this week, asking residents living in unincorporated areas to weigh in on plans for “reimagining public safety.”

Seattle City Council votes to transfer 911 operations away from police

The survey is designed around the idea that “the practice of law enforcement in the United States and in King County includes a history of harmful impacts and barriers to the families, health and futures of Black, Indigenous, and communities of color.” The hope is to ask residents from unincorporated King County — which encompasses a wide swathe of BIPOC communities — to provide feedback on how that can be addressed.

“Reimagining public safety is part of a County-wide focus that prioritizes personal and community wellness and dismantling systemic racism,” the county details in its explanation for the survey. “Our solutions must focus on meeting the needs of our communities to ensure safety and wellbeing — not just traditional methods of policing and criminal justice.”

The survey contains a variety of questions, asking residents about their experiences calling 911, the type of help they received, and whether they wished “another type of professional” had arrived to address a non-violent call.

It also gauges the level of trust respondents have in law enforcement officers in their respective communities, while measuring the level of comfort people have in trained crisis responders accompanying police on 911 calls.

Feedback gathered from the survey will be used to help build pilot programs set to launch in 2022.

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King County looks for feedback on plans to expand 911 alternatives, ‘reimagine public safety’